The much ballyhooed release early this month by the Florida DOE touting charter school superiority got a follow-up in the Naples Daily News. Reporter Heather Carney asked the principal of Bonita Springs Charter about their status as an A school.
Bonita Springs Charter Principal Deborah Tracy said the school takes extra steps to ensure every student is successful.
Three times a year, the school assesses all students in an FCAT-like environment — a teacher proctors the test and the desks are moved apart to prevent cheating. Those performing below grade level are mentored after school and receive additional schooling on Saturdays.
The school tracks each student’s progress and targets lessons to help those students improve.
“We don’t just emphasize the FCAT the night before,” Tracy said.
Teachers participate in collaborative sessions twice a month to share best practices and to focus on FCAT instruction. Teachers also meet regularly with parents to discuss a student’s progress.
“Students didn’t feel anxious or frustrated this year,” Tracy said. “They knew what the test would be like and how they would perform.”
Small wonder such wide-spread opposition to high-stakes testing like FCAT is becoming a tsunami is states like Texas. Florida legislators freely throw around the word “rigor,” to describe curriculum while fawning over the superiority of charter schools. Is FCAT prep their vision of rigor?
Bonita Springs Charter, one of almost 40 in Florida’s Charter Schools USA network, knows its bread is buttered with FCAT data. Their A grade is what Charter School USA CEO Jonathan Hage uses to as justification to open more schools around the country. Its not hard to teach the test. Small wonder that so many charter schools want Teach For America corp members just out of college who are indoctrinated in just that.